The SES Health Gradient on Both Sides of the Atlantic
In: Developments in the Economics of Aging
AbstractIn this paper we investigate the size of health differences that exist among men in England and the United States and how those differences vary by Socio-Economic Status (SES) in both countries. Three SES measures are emphasized - education, household income, and household wealth - and the health outcomes investigated span multiple dimensions as well. International comparisons have played a central part of the recent debate involving the 'SES health gradient' with some authors citing cross-country differences in levels of income equality and mortality as among the most compelling evidence that unequal societies have negative impacts on individual health outcomes. In spite of the analytical advantages of making such international comparisons, until recently good micro data measuring both SES and health in comparable ways have not been available for both countries. Fortunately, that problem has been remedied with the fielding of two surveys - the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS) and the English Longitudinal Survey of Aging (ELSA). In order to facilitate the type of research represented in this paper, both the health and SES measures in ELSA and HRS were purposely constructed to be as directly comparable as possible. Our analysis presents data on some of the most salient issues regarding the social health gradient in health and the manner in which this health gradient differs for men across the two countries in question. There are a several key findings. First, looking across a wide variety of diagnosed diseases, average health status among mature men is much worse in America compared to England, confirming non-gender specific findings we reported in earlier research. Second, there exists a steep negative health gradient for men in both countries where men at the bottom of the economic hierarchy are in much worse health than those at the top. This social health gradient exists whether education, income, or financial wealth is used as the marker of SES. While the neg
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Other versions of this item:
- James Banks & Michael Marmot & Zo� Oldfield & James P. Smith, 2007. "The SES Health Gradient on Both Sides of the Atlantic," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 175, McMaster University.
- James Banks & Michael Marmot & Zoë Oldfield & James Smith, 2007. "The SES health gradient on both sides of the Atlantic," IFS Working Papers W07/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- Banks, James & Marmot, Michael & Oldfield, Zoë & Smith, James P., 2007. "The SES Health Gradient on Both Sides of the Atlantic," IZA Discussion Papers 2539, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- James Banks & Michael Marmot & Zoe Oldfield & James P. Smith, 2006. "The SES Health Gradient on Both Sides of the Atlantic," NBER Working Papers 12674, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
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